NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday marks move-in day for 700 new students at Southern Connecticut State University for what is considered to be the first normal school year since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

While students appear to be ready, some parents are preparing to cope with the absence.

“I’m proud, I’m excited, and I’m still a little nervous for her adjustment and mine, too,” Michelle Streater told News 8. “She’s my only child.”

It’s a feeling the Starkey family can relate to, driving in from Madison to drop off their son, J.D., for his freshman year.

“I think I won’t cry,” Starkey’s mom said while laughing.

Starkey appears to be handling the move-in just fine, thanks to his sister who graduated a couple of years ago.

”I’m a light packer than she is, so it’s going to be easier than when she moved in,” he said.

“I just told him to have fun, enjoy it,” Tricia Starkey said. “Don’t come home on the weekends.”

Masks are optional on-campus as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers,

“Students, faculty, and staff certainly can choose to continue to wear masks, but it is not required,” Tracy Tyree, the vice president of student affairs said. “We are strongly encouraging being current in your vaccination status, but it is no longer mandatory.”

That’s a win for the athletic department, especially when you consider what teams had to endure last year.

“We’re not having to spray down equipment,” Lenny Bond, the assistant football coach. “We can have meetings in person. We don’t have to wear masks. It’s a blessed change.”

A change for both students and parents as they tackle the next phase of life.